This post is a response to the writing prompt for the week of 4/2/2012.

It wasn't what I was expecting.

The gray cell walls, the right brain atrophy, and the over-sharing vice president were slowly but methodically robbing me of my will to live. I stared at the flowchart on my cubicle wall. "Are you happy?" it asked me. My eyes followed the path as I chose the appropriate answers.

No, I'm not happy, I thought.

"Well, do you want to be happy?"


"Change something," it said.

My boss walked by with his coffee mug in hand. He took a swig before speaking. He always swallows a gulp of the break room sludge before giving bad news. I'd been working thre a year, but I ccouldn't decide if the pre-speech gulp was a nervous tic or just one more way he procrastinated when it was time to do those scary boss-type things. 

"We're going to have to rename those files from last week." 

"But they were saved according to the instructions Susan sent. This is the third time. And you added the ProTool project last week. I'm buried here."

"Yeah," was his disinterested reply.

Before I realized what was happening, I launched into a tirade and started removing the poetry word magnets placed randomly on the metal shelf above my head. I was packing up my things. My movements were reflexive. 

"I won't be back tomorrow." I flipped off my computer without saving my work. My keys jingled as I pulled them from my purse.

I stood to my feet and looked my boss in the eyes. His mouth was stuck open, coffee mug not quite to his lips.

I found his inability to speak or move irritating. So irritating that I tipped his mug, spilling coffee down his front and staining the gut of his white cotton polo a dirty yellow-brown.

Still no response, but he had at least switched from staring at me to staring at his girth.

Emily Suess is an Indianapolis freelance writer and editor. She blogs at Suess's Pieces, home of Writers' Week.

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Comment by Emily Suess on April 6, 2012 at 9:19am

I prefer to think that it doesn't make us immature; it just means we know what it's like to have a sense self-worth, Christine. :) 

Comment by Christine Siracusa on April 6, 2012 at 9:10am

"flipped off my computer" I love it!! Does that make me immature?

I have quit in that heated moment you relay so well. But I took it back and gave proper notice. Two weeks. Then I was out of there.

Comment by Jessica Streit on April 3, 2012 at 5:16pm

Oh wow there were days when I wanted to leave like that. I am happily working for myself and no longer a slave to the "man." But I can totally feel where he/she was coming from.

Comment by Marie Nicole on April 3, 2012 at 12:22pm

I guess sometimes you do just have to jump and trust the net will simply appear. Great short fiction piece. Where did she go first when she left the office? I always want to know what happens next...

Comment by Jester Queen (Jessie Powell) on April 2, 2012 at 1:05pm

I love it! I yearn to leave that way. Yearn yearn yearn.


Present tense.

Comment by Emily Suess on April 2, 2012 at 11:01am

Haven't we all, Eric?

For the record, I've never left that way either. :) But I've had some jobs where I've wanted to!

Comment by Eric Storch on April 2, 2012 at 11:00am

Yeah, been in that kind of job before. Never had the guts to end like that though.

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